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Ali & Dylan's wedding

Botleys Mansion

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The Proposal

The couple had already booked to visit South Africa in February to follow the Garden route, taking in Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Knysna, Kariega Game Reserve. Dylan thought that this was the perfect time to pop the question and therefore made plans to propose during a safari ride.
Seeing wild rhino, giraffe and zebra on their first trip was unbelievable and when the game driver suggested a quick refreshment break to take in the late afternoon sun it seemed to be the perfect time to get out and take in the amazing scenery and wildlife. With the driver discreetly moving away, the planned fire-pit, petals on the table and champagne on ice, Dylan and Ali became engaged and the celebrations continued throughout their holiday.

Botleys Mansion was the first venue Ali and Dylan visited; in the blazing sunshine as the couple drove up the sweeping drive to the grand and imposing façade. It was love at first sight. The entrance to the glass Atrium sealed the deal and it felt right for the excited couple to host their wedding at Botleys Mansion. Trying to keep a cool head, Ali and Dylan decided that they should continue to look at a selection of alternative wedding venues as a comparison. But after leaving the last venue scheduled for a couple of weeks later, they both turned to each other in the car and stated ‘it has to be Botleys Mansion’.

During the run up to their wedding, Harper’s online planner was a complete lifesaver to Ali and Dylan as it allowed them to keep track of costs, guests attending and different options that were available in regards to enhanced extras. Even for someone as organised as Ali who had a number of wedding spreadsheets, the online planner was an amazing tool to use.

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The Dress

Ali had pictured the wedding dress she wanted from the moment they got engaged. Having her heart set on a satin princess dress with some lace detailing, it was disappointing to find that these dresses were not a popular choice and she therefore struggled to find anything close to what she had researched online. Not wanting to go strapless as well also added to the stress of finding suitable dresses and hearing that ‘you can add a bolero’ became frustrating.

Visiting JS Couture, London, Ali was to find ‘the one’. The shop owner had recently had an Allure Bridal trunk show and had kept one dress back and asked if Ali would like to try it on. Style number 9362 was a satin fishtail with a lot of beading to the front and a very detailed back. It looked perfect on. Ali cried, her mum cried and a wedding dress purchase was made.

The Big Day

Ali and Dylan were married in the Green room at Botleys Mansion at 2pm on Friday 10th March, in front of 80 guests. The aisle was decorated with storm vases and rose petals, with proteas tied on with silver and ivory ribbons to the chairs at the end of the aisle. At the altar, white stands held tall displays of roses, hydrangeas and lisianthus in silver vases.

The couple had chosen two readings for the ceremony, one being ‘Marriage Joins Two People in a Circle of Love’ by Edmund O’Neill. The first few lines of the reading encompassed everything that Ali and Dylan felt towards each other and how they want their marriage to be. “Marriage is a commitment to life- to the best that two people can find and bring out in each other” – it was perfect.

After their romantic ceremony, the couple enjoyed chatting to their guests before the grand and truly elegant Atrium was un-veiled. Each reception table had a tall silver display of roses, hydrangeas and lisianthus. To make a big impact, smaller silver vases with proteas at the base of the tall displays and votive candles were interwoven throughout the displays. The top table had the low bowls of king proteas and roses from the registry table and the bridesmaid’s bouquets were also placed along the table.

A further 20 evening guests joined Ali and Dylan at Botleys Mansion for their evening reception. The newlyweds had carefully chosen their first dance song to be ‘You Are The Best Thing’ by Ray LaMontagne. Dancing on the light up dance floor, alone, in front of their guests and oversized LOVE letters was a moment that Ali and Dylan will never forget.

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The Flowers

As Ali always wanted to include aspects of South Africa within the wedding it was non-negotiable that king proteas (the national flower of South Africa) featured heavily throughout. Ali fell in love with The Fine Flowers Company and when she met with Gabi at Botleys Mansion; there was an instant understanding of the feel and impact that Ali wanted the proteas to make. Gabi not only discussed through ideas on how best to dress the luxurious, exclusive use wedding venue but also offered up ideas on making the most of the king proteas and making them the focal flower, including them in Ali’s bridal bouquet, bridesmaids bouquet, Dylan’s buttonhole and the mothers corsage’s.

Bride Groom newlyweds Botleys Mansion grounds

Top Tip

Ali and Dylan say, “remember that ultimately the day is about the two of you as a couple. No matter how stressful the planning can be, the demands from family and bridal party can drive you insane, but this day is about the two of you getting married and therefore as long as it makes you happy the others will eventually be happy.”


Photographer: Anthony Hurren | Wedding Dress: Allure | Make-up Artist: Amanda White MUA | Florist: The Fine flowers Company | Quartet: Reflection Strings | Candles: Sevenoaks Candle Company | Cake: Gorgeous Gems Bakery | Cake Topper: Feats of Clay | LOVE Letters: Locke and Busby | Photo Booth: The Photo Lounge